NFL Odds Explained
Point Spread – the most popular way to bet on football, point spread bettors simply choose a favorite or underdog and decide if one team can cover the spread. For example, if Dallas is favored by 7 points against New Orleans, they will display as -7. The Saints are +7. This means the Cowboys must win by eight points or more to cover the spread. Meanwhile the Saints can lose by six points and still win ATS (against the spread). You simply subtract the negative value from the favorite’s final score or add the positive value to the underdog’s final score. Example, if the final score is 21-10 for Dallas, they won by 11 points, so even after subtracting 7 (for the -7), the final ATS score is 14-10. Example if the Cowboys win 21-17, they won by just four points, so 21 -7 = 14, therefore the final ATS score is 17-14 for the Saints. In this case, the Cowboys win the game but lose against the spread.
Over Under – known as totals betting, this is a combined number of all points scored in a game by both teams. You bet OVER the number or UNDER that number. If the total is 47.5 and the final score is 30-24, the game goes OVER the total because 54 total points is OVER 47.5. If the score ends up 27-20, the game is UNDER because 47 total points is UNDER 47.5.
Moneyline – betting similar to hockey and baseball where you bet on one team to win, without any point spread to worry about. The odds reflect the favorite and underdog in a different way, one team with a negative value and one with a positive value. If a team is -180, they are favored. Their opponent would be a +160 underdog. In that example, you basically win $1 for every $1.80 you risk. If you wanted to make a $100 profit on the game, you would need to bet $180. On the underdog, you earn $1.60 in profit for every $1 you bet. So the risk is more and the payout less by betting the favorite. And the payout is more while risking less money by betting the underdog.
Futures – you can bet on the next Super Bowl winner at any time during the year via NFL futures, otherwise known as Odds to Win the Super Bowl. These odds change during the season, with preseason odds changing if a team suffers a major injury or if they go on winning streaks or losing skids.